Gau Lower Silesia

Gau Lower Silesia
Gau of Nazi Germany




Capital Breslau
  19411945 Karl Hanke
  Establishment 27 January 1941
  Disestablishment 8 May 1945
Today part of  Germany

The Gau Lower Silesia (German: Gau Niederschlesien ) was an administrative division of Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1945 in the Lower Silesia part of the Prussian Province of Silesia. The Gau was created when the Gau Silesia was split into Lower Silesia and Upper Silesia in 1941. The majority of the former Gau became part of Poland after the Second World War, with small parts in the far west becoming part of the future East Germany.


The Nazi Gau (plural Gaue) system was originally established in a party conference on 22 May 1926, in order to improve administration of the party structure. From 1933 onwards, after the Nazi seizure of power, the Gaue increasingly replaced the German states as administrative subdivisions in Germany.[1]

At the head of each Gau stood a Gauleiter, a position which became increasingly more powerful, especially after the outbreak of the Second World War, with little interference from above. Local Gauleiter often held government positions as well as party ones and were in charge of, among other things, propaganda and surveillance and, from September 1944 onward, the Volkssturm and the defense of the Gau.[1][2]

The position of Gauleiter in Lower Silesia was held by Karl Hanke throughout the short history of the Gau.[3][4] Hanke who evacuated the Gau's capital to late and, for a long time, refused its surrender during the Siege of Breslau escaped shortly before the eventual surrender of Breslau on 6 May 1945. Hanke was killed by Czech partisans after having been captured and making an escape attempt.[5]

The Gross-Rosen concentration camp was located in the Gau Lower Silesia. Of the 140,000 prisoners that were sent to the camp 40,000 perished.[6]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Die NS-Gaue" [The Nazi Gaue]. (in German). Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  2. "The Organization of the Nazi Party & State". The Nizkor Project. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  3. "Übersicht der NSDAP-Gaue, der Gauleiter und der Stellvertretenden Gauleiter zwischen 1933 und 1945" [Overview of Nazi Gaue, the Gauleiter and assistant Gauleiter from 1933 to 1945]. (in German). Zukunft braucht Erinnerung. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  4. "Gau Niederschlesien" [Gau Lower Silesia]. (in German). Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  5. "Stalingrad an der Oder" [Stalingrad on the Oder]. (in German). Die Zeit. 3 March 2005. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  6. "Gross-Rosen" (PDF). Yad Vashem. Retrieved 13 April 2016.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 4/25/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.